Important Camp Terminology

Now if you just wanna ease into camp and appear super cool, it is important that you know some of the “campisms”, if you will. These are common terms used in and around camp.

Tripping: a camping trip through the forest. Usually requiring packing for 5-10 days. You will pack all the food and TP that you will need for your trip. You will carry everything you need in your extremely large backpacks and you will carry your canoe on your head at the same time (referred to as portaging but please check here for the correct way to say portage – scroll down to Jafsie, female from Canada to hear how you should really pronounce it!). You will also pack something that resembles PJ’s but that is all. You will not pack any other clothing. You will wear the same items of clothing into the forest that you will wear out of the forest 10 days later. You do not pack soap – cuz bears like soap apparently.  You do not pack deodorant for the same reason. You pack your day clothing into the food sack at night time. You do pack a very long, strong rope to

Bear proofing

haul all your food pack (with your daytime clothing which still has yummy food smells attached to it) hiiiiiiigh up into a tree, again because of the damn bears (this is referred to as bear proofing and the fact that you even have to do it is rather terrifying).


Permadirt: this is the dark black dirt that adheres most often to your toes/feet, but can be on any part of your body. It is a common problem even after just one day at camp. Progressive layering of said permadirt make it increasingly difficult to remove.  There are really no recommended techniques for battling permadirt since the only

“Curly Kate”

effective means of keeping it in check is a daily scrubbing with a curly kate. But of course we all know daily showering at camp is a joke – cuz nobody but me has a daily shower. And, using a curly kate on human tissue can be painful (I know this, as i tried it!). I just suggest that you paint your toenails a really pretty color as a form of distraction! As for the guys who are not cool with painted toenails — just wear it with honor.


Chillaxing: a marriage of chilling out and relaxing. The highest legal form of mellowing out. Usually counselors would attempt this on one of the docks during their one day off in the month (yes…one day off in a month which really meant 18 hours off since they have to teach morning instructions first and THEN they have the rest of the day off – being a counselor can suck on so many levels) by jumping in the lake/suntanning/jumping in the lake/suntanning.

Jokes: we are not talking ‘knock knock’ jokes here. Jokes replaces ‘cool’, meaning something is fun, funny, or simply awesome. Things like unrolling a plastic tarp down a hill, covering it with liquid soap, spraying it down, and then having campers slide down it…this would be considered jokes. Also, wearing a bunny costume into the lake would be considered jokes. The camp fashion show is jokes. As is wearing your life jacket upside down on your legs (which, BTW, you can now buy as a bumfloat — no kidding) and playing waterpolo in the lake.  

For realizies…someone invented it!


Sick: see jokes above. Pronounced something like ‘siiiiick!’

Do you have a fave “campism”? Post it here!